Chapter 16: Inquire of the Inmost
That’s why when Judas was leaving to go and inform Jesus’ enemies, Jesus touched his feet and kissed him. People think the reason behind this gesture was to show love even towards the enemy - but this was not the case. The inside story is something totally different. In fact, Judas was the most intelligent disciple of them all. And perhaps you are not aware of this: that on the day that Jesus was crucified, the other disciples ran away, but Judas committed suicide. He hanged himself.
People think that he did so out of repentance, that he felt guilty for betraying Jesus, that he felt responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. No. It was because of the very deep and intimate love he had for Jesus; a love so strong that when Jesus asked him to make preparations for his crucifixion, he went ahead and did so. But love brings tremendous difficulties. He made those arrangements, and then he hanged himself, because after that, life ceased to have any meaning for him.
All this was preplanned. Jesus wanted to be crucified because only through his crucifixion could something take place which would transform people’s lives. That’s why the symbol of the cross is much more important for Christianity than even Jesus himself. They don’t hang a statue of Jesus around their necks, they wear a cross - because it was through the cross, because of the crucifixion, that the birth of Christianity was able to take place.
Søren Kirkegaard was a very devout Christian mystic. He went so far as to say that Christianity should not be called Christianity but Crossianity, because the concept of Christianity is based solely on the cross. That’s why the cross is more important than Christ. It was because of the crucifixion that Jesus could become a Christ. That’s why the picture of Jesus hanging from the cross has become the most well-loved one. This was a historical plan.
And the inner state of Socrates is yet again different. In fact, you should never make comparisons. I am not comparing, I am merely pointing out their individual traits and telling you why events happened the way they did.
Socrates was told that if he stopped giving his discourses he would be set free. The judges told him this. But Socrates replied, “If I stop speaking, what is the point of my living? The sole reason for my existence is so that I can speak the truth. My life and speaking the truth are one and the same thing. So please don’t impose this ban. Either allow me to speak the truth, and let me live, or if you ban me from speaking the truth, it is better that you kill me, it is better that you give me poison. And if you give me poison, remember one thing: I will never die. Because of your poison I will become immortal. If people ever remember you, it will be because of me, because you gave Socrates poison. You will be remembered for nothing else, for one thing only - that you administered poison to Socrates.
“But,” said Socrates, “I want to make one thing very clear, and that is: truth is more dear to me than life. Death has no importance for me whatsoever, but truth is very important. And for the sake of truth, I am willing to accept death.”
He who is willing to accept death for the sake of truth will achieve immortality. And until you are willing to accept death for the sake of truth, truth does not have any value. Only when truth becomes so priceless to us that we are willing to lay down our lives for its sake, does it become authentic truth.